Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Raven's Gate: Book One of the Gatekeepers

Raven's Gate: Book One of the Gatekeepers

Anthony Horowitz
Fiction  Series
For ages 14 and up
Scholastic , 2008   ISBN: 978-0439680097

Matt Freeman has really got himself into trouble this time. In the past, the worst thing he did was to shoplift and to skip school. This time he and his friend Kelvin tried to rob a warehouse and Kelvin knifed the security guard in the back. Thankfully, the security guard did not die and he was able to tell the police that Matt was not the one who attacked him. In fact Matt was horrified when he saw what Kelvin had done and he tried to help the guard, staying with the injured man when Kelvin ran off. Still, though he did not actually wield the weapon, Matt was there. He was a party to the crime and he has to be punished for what he did.

The authorities decide that instead of sending Matt to prison, that are going to give him the option of joining the LEAF project. In this project young offenders are sent to remote areas where they work on farms and try to build a new life for themselves living with a foster family. Matt is not keen on the idea but it sounds better than going to prison, so he accepts the offer.

So Matt finds himself living on a farm near the village of Lesser Malling in Yorkshire. His guardian is a Mrs. Deverill, and Matt quickly comes to realize that she and all in the people in Lesser Malling are not normal. Something about them is wrong and it quite frankly frightens him. Indeed, the entire place is thoroughly creepy and all Matt wants to do is to get as far away from it as possible. However, when he tries to run away, he finds that he can't. Every road brings him right back to the farm. It is as if the place is bewitched.

The more Matt learns about Lesser Malling and Mrs. Deverill the more terrifying the picture becomes. Why are the villagers meeting at the abandoned nuclear power plant, and what is the Raven's Gate? Why is it that everyone who tries to help Matt seems to end up dead?

In this superbly crafted fantasy suspense story Anthony Horowitz takes his readers on a roller coaster ride of thrills and chills. There are witches with their dark magic and there are ancient prophecies that may or may not come true; there is a secret society and there is one lost orphaned teenager who has powers that he has no idea how to use. Brought together, these components give readers a highly satisfying reading experience, which can be deliciously nerve tingling and which might leave some more sensitive souls feeling strangely sleepless on a dark and stormy night.

This is the first title in the "Gatekeepers" series.